tv This Week in Northern California PBS February 25, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PST
problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or just isn't telling you the truth. >> belva: oakland climate expert peter gleick spurs a national debate admitting he lied to get memos from a conservative think tank. will he face criminal charges? a conversation with party chairman tom del beccaro as republicans kick of on their state convention in burlingame. >> my brother died and they can't give us a reason why. >> belva: disturbing charges of abuse at the centers of developmentally disabled at the story for the center of investigative reporting coming up next.
>> belva: good evening. i'm belva davis and welcome to "this week in northern california." republicans kick off their state spring convention in burlingame this evening. earlier, i spoke with state party chairman tom del beccaro about what role california might play in this hotly contested presidential primary and efforts to boost better rparty registra the state. hello, mr. del beccaro and welcome, first of all. the theme of your convention this weekend seems to be enlarge the tent, to bring in more latinos, more asian-americans, more younger voters. how do you plan to do that? >> well, this is a showcase for us. i dedicated my chairmanship for the party to interact with more voters all over the state. this is just sort of the next step along the way. we've done these town halls all
over the state. we're expanding the number we're doing. because the key in the victory here is in the discussion. we need to bring more californians into the discussion and i want our party to be on the forefront of that. >> belva: one of the big things this year that you're facing that no one ever has, and that is the whole issue of redistricting as well as the pop two voter system we're doing. how are you preparing for that or is that part of the agenda for the weekend? >> well, we as a party will do, quite like the democrats did -- recently did, we will be endorsing people. we're also moving ahead on this issue. we're developing new technologies to interact with more californians in the elections ahead. the most important thing we can do in this regard is interact with voters. i've tried to take the party out of sacramento and bring them to places like los angeles and riverside, places where republicans don't ordinarily need -- don't ordinarily go. this is just one more example of it, with this town hall that
we're having with the asian community and the latino community. we've got to have these discussions, not only for the sake of our party but for the sake of california. >> belva: well, some of the issues that some of the presidential candidates stand for are different from those positions of californians. so how are you going to approach dealing with things like immigration? >> well, first of all, what's really important across the spectrum is that we have a discussion, not only with the latino community, not only with the asian community or young voters on jobs, education, public safety. we have to have an ongoing relationship relationship with voters as a party on all of these issues. when it comes to immigration, you know, republicans need to understand that a majority of a latinos support border security when the issue is framed as crisis occurring on that border. with regard to the drug runner, the number of rapes, crime on
that border, if that occurred in some african country or along some other border in asia we would be sending aid to that border to help those people. i think what our republican presidential candidates and all candidates need to understand is that there's common ground here, and i would like to see them emphasize that. >> belva: let's talk about the districts that you have to be responsible for here in california. and the district lines involved with that. you and the party have had problems with the independent commission that drew lines for the election districts this year. that is still unsettled. you passed a lawsuit, you're looking at a referendum. how do you plan to deal with the lines as drawn and those which the court say you must observe this year? >> well, the lines are there for this election cycle. so it's going to be important for republicans to do what we normally do, which is to start register voters, hold events, and contact voters in that area. it's going to be an uphill climb in a lot of ways with this regard. some of these districts weren't
changed because the demographics changed, some of it was just politics. it is what it is now and we need to move forward. the most important thing republicans can do is provide a positive agenda to california voters on issues like the pension crisis, on things like a spending cap, and give alternatives that are clear to what the democrats are doing. remember, the democrats have been in complete charge and they're about to run out of money up there in march. voters need an explanation from them as to how they got into trouble, and republicans need to provide a solution for things like that. >> belva: let's talk about the new top two voting system we're going to be under. is that going to make your job harder? and explain if you would how you as the chair of the republican party plan to approach that. >> well, the new system, top two as you mentioned, you have a large open primary in june. then the top two go on to november, which hurts third parties and excludes all parties from participating in every election. we're going to have to see how
that pans out. it's never been tried in a state this big. but my challenge is to make sure that the community of voters interested in our republican candidates in june actually hear that message and then put a republican in the top two. that way voters have a choice in the fall. sadly, third parties are going to be excluded from the elections this fall which was the reason why i was against it. you're right, it's a big challenge. >> belva: you also will have one of the presidential candidates there with you this weekend. a former house speaker newt gingrich. which then brings into focus culture issues which have propelled or motors some of the many debates candidates have had. how are those discussions going to be handled here in california where you have a much more liberal electorate? >> well, my preference is for these candidates to discuss these social issues that you describe in a manner that relates to whether we're respecting people's different
viewpoints, especially on issues of religion. whether we're honoring the freedom that our founders established, more so than perhaps some of the democrat candidates who want to propose or impose certain solutions. but the key for us here in california is we're facing this incredible ongoing budget crisis. so the republican party this year is going to be mostly focused on fiscal solutions. but, you know, newt gingrich will be here, he's bringing herman cain with him, michael reagan will be here. it's going to be pretty exciting. we'll have to see how they deal with it. once the primary's over it's going to be our job to convince californians we have better ideas in the fall. >> belva: we thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. thank you so much. >> thanks, please invite me back. >> belva: okay. well, in the last hour the republican-backed referendum on redistricting qualified for the november ballot. joining me now on our news panel are paul rogers, "san jose
mercury news" environment writer. david baker, "san francisco chronicle" energy writer. david, rising gas prices spurred hot political debate. why? >> it's going to keep doing that for months. this is one of those things that everybody feels anyone who has a car, and outside of that, even your grocery prices go up when gas and oil prices go up. it's something people see every day driving to work, they see the lines along the side of the road. a situation in california where in the last two days alone we've gone up 14 cents on average across the state. people see that. in the midst of their commute. it freaks them out. it makes them worry about where it's going next. and politicians feel compelled to jump in on that. and they feel forced to. sometime is by their constituents. when you're in an election year they can't resist -- >> right now they're blaming president obama.
could any president have avoided this? i guess that's not a fair question. but is it likely that a president could have avoided this? >> this is one of those things, sometimes presidents for their own political purposes will want to jump on this issue. because it's useful as a way to talk about other things like energy policy. but this is not something that presidents actually get to control. the main reason our gas prices are going up is the oil price has gone up. the main reasons for that are the very real possibility of war between israel and iran. which could potentially close off the straits of hormuz. that would block off a lot of supplies of oil that come from that part of the world. at the same time you have oil basically being treated as another investment commodity by a lot of people who don't actually intend to ever take possession of a tanker full of it. you got banks and the other big investors who jump in and out of this market depending on which way they think it's going to swing. and as a result, you get these big changes. and that translates directly to
the gas pump. >> that's what i wanted to mention. there's so much misinformation that's flying around out there. we talk about -- we hear people saying, if we could just drill for more oil right away the price would come down in the short-term. every government agency that's studied that under bush and obama says it would amount to a couple of cents. the u.s. has 2% of the world's proven oil reserves and uses 25% of the world's oil, right? if we drilled every bit of the california coast, big sur, alaska, florida, it wouldn't make any difference to supply. talk more about the speculation piece. it seems to me the same sharks on wall street who tanked the housing market and hurt the middle class with gambling are doing it again on oil futures. they are gambling with these things at a higher rate than ever before. is it ever going to be regulated properly? a way that they actually have to take possession of the oil? >> that last bit, no. not really. i mean, there are tighter regulations on the books, or
making their way towards the books, that are on the table, i should say, that would restrict the amount of positions, open positions, that a trader can have in this particular market. but i mean, it's essentially just like gold at this point. it's a commodity like any other. frankly, you know, those of us who have retirement plans, 401(k)s, our money's in that market, probably. we don't know it but it's probably moving in and out of that market all the time. you mentioned the drilling. that's one of the most interesting things about what's going on right now. we are actually in the united states in the midst of a small oil boom that could get a lot larger. we've actually had increased oil production in the country for the last couple of years straight, since 2008. the first time since the 1980s it's gone up year after year after year, yet our prices are still high. >> demand's going down? >> 6% lower in this country than a year a, go because people are shifting to more efficient cars.
you've got increased supply, decreased demand, and yet the prices are going up. >> belva: and leaves us feeling helpless once more. >> exactly. >> belva: do we expect this to continue into summer? >> i think it will. there are a whole bunch of reasons it will. even if war does not break out in the middle east. but there are other things that are going to be pushing it up. over the course of the next couple of months. there's always the possibility that something will happen that will divert that. because oil prices can be very hard to predict over -- once you get past three or four months out. i think it's going into the summer. >> belva: you have a story that no one, i don't think, could have predicted even in the last month or so. why don't you tell us what happened with dr. gleick and the whole business of global warming. >> well, this is one of the most contentious environmental escapades of the last year. it's a real soap opera what's happened here.
the short version is peter gleick, who runs an organization called the pacific institute in berkeley, is a nationally renowned water expert and scientist. he has a ph.d. from berkeley. he was a macarthur genius award winner. he testified before congress. et cetera, et cetera. a month ago, some documents were leaked out of a libertarian think tank in chicago that is skeptical of the scientific consensus that the earth is warming and humans are to blame. this is a heartland institute, they're called. over the years they've taken money from exxon and the american petroleum institute, places like that. nobody knew who leaked these documents. they were put out on the web to various websites. they were internal documents about fund-raising, about their strategies, things like that. and about a week ago, peter gleick writes an editorial, a column in "the huffington post" confessing saying, i took the
documents. turns out he used this subterfuge. he pretended to be a board member of this organization. he wrote fake e-mails to the organization saying, could you send me these documents? i'm a board member who's changed my accuracy. they sent t my address. they sent the documents. the whole thing has blown up. people who are skeptical of the climate science are saying, see? this shows scientists are play politics, they're playing dirty just like the environmentalists accuse the climate deniers are of being. the key question to me is, today, just a few hours ago, we saw peter gleick put out an announcement significant he was taking a temporary leave of absence from his position at the pacific institute. his board is investigating him. he's dropped off the american geophysical union ethics committee he was chairman. he's dropped off another scientific education board he was on. his helptation is teetering. but the key question is, will he be criminally prosecuted?
did he commit wire fraud? or is this a civil matter? if so, will the heartland institute sue him? then what happens? >> belva: is that expected? do informed people think they might? >> it's a really great question. because if they did file a lawsuit, and they've been putting out press releases to some of the organizations that have published these do you means on the website with very heavy language talking about, harmed our reputation, all the language you use when you're going to sue for libel or slander or invasion of privacy. if they sued against peter gleick, gleick's lawyers could put all their executives under oath. they could, in discovery, call out all their secret documents. a lot of this organization's donor lists, all of them, are secret. little bits have trick ankled out here and there. but there's a lot that really
could backfire on the heartland institute. the key question at this point is, did gleick cross the line into a crime like wire fraud? usually wire fraud is when someone tried to get your credit card number over the phone, or online, to make money. but there is some language in the federal statute that says, it doesn't have to just be money. it can be property of someone else. so if a prosecutor wanted to go after him, that would be really interesting. i have no idea whether it's going to be prosecuted or not. this is very closely watched by environmentalists and people in the energy industry. >> belva: well, how will this affect the whole scientific community who has spent years and years working on convincing us that we need to do all of these things to save the planet? >> that's really what i was hearing this week when i talked to a lot of environmental groups. a lot of environmental groups, they don't want to talk about this, they're running away from it. scientists are worried that it actually will harm the credibility of the scientific side as they're trying to
explain climate change to the public. there's more to come and we'll have to see how big the fallout is. >> belva: thanks very much, paul. some 1,800 californians with severe mental disabilities live in state-run institutions. but due to problems including a lack of oversight of caretakers, disabled patients have become victims of abuse. california watch, a project of the center for investigative reporting, has this special report. >> stephanie contreras remembers the joy her baby brother timothy brought to the family. but early on they realized that something was wrong. >> he wasn't developing like a normal, healthy baby boy would. you know. there was no crawling. there was no walking. there was no talking. >> as he grew older his family found they could not cope with his disabilities. they turned to sonoma developmental center in northern california. it's one of five state-run institutions for people with severe developmental
disabilities. serving roughly 2,000 patients who need full-time care. >> we thought at the time it was the right thing for him. >> but one day stephanie learned her brother had suddenly died of internal bleeding caused by a torn esophagus. she says autopsy revealed why. >> it turns out that he had three lemon glycerine swabs that were found. two in his stomach, one that was apparently on the bed he was sleeping in. >> he was paraplegic and wheelchair-bound. his doctors said he could not have put the swabs in his mouth on his own. >> he couldn't have put them there, they couldn't go through the feeding tube which they have no business being anywhere near him at all. >> dr. van peno was a advise there for ten years where he says he was disturbed by what he saw. >> every shift i had, there were injuries. >> he said the staff often could not explain how the injuries occurred. >> often the answers revolved
around the person did it to himself, herself. very, very often i would say, these explanations had no ring of truth or reality to them. >> ordinarily, injuries and deaths are investigated by local police. but california's developmental centers have their own in-house police force. in timothy's case that police force waited over 24 hours before examining the room. by then, any potential evidence was gone. medical records were missing. others had details crossed out. >> our brother died. and they can't give us a reason why. >> the director of the department of developmental services, terry dal gudio, said she could not comment on individual cases because of patient privacy laws but said all incidents were taken seriously. >> we keep track of every allegation that is made. we then investigate it internally and we track everything that happens. and we're always looking for
opportunities to improve. >> yet during a recent three-year period there were more than 250 confirmed abuse cases are and over 600 other unexplained injuries among the system's roughly 200,000 patients. rarely has violence against the patients led to arrests or prosecution. >> that means that we didn't really find out what really happened. that disturbs me. >> california assembly man jim bell is chair of the human services committee. he says injuries of unknown origin should be further investigated. >> as a parent of somebody that's developmentally disabled, and as a legislator, it is cause for alarmr. i want to know if investigations were completed properly. >> van ingram as a child was diagnosed with mental retardation and severe autism. they turned to the developmental center in orange county. >> it became clear he was not going to be able to talk or function on his own in society. >> one day in 2007, larry
ingram, a retired police officer, got a call his brother van had been rushed to the hospital. >> he was in icu at memorial hospital. i've seen a lot of bad sights in my life, this was one of the worst. >> a neurosurgeon at the hospital said van's injury was no accident. >> they said, your brother was body surfing at huntington beach and had a severe impact into the sand with a large wave, or somebody did this to your brother. >> the staff at fairview developmental center said van had simply fallen out of bed. but larry became suspicious of how the center was handling his brother's case. >> i talked with the supervisor. the way he was handling it, the way he was acting, don't want to talk to you, can't talk to you. i became suspicious. >> it turns out fairview's in-house police force waited five days to begin interviewing potential suspects. >> we had found out by then that there is no crime scene.
investigation at the time of the incident, we found out no evidence was collected. >> in fact, evidence was altered. in the sleep log, entries for the hour when van's neck was likely broken were modified van's caregiver, johannes tinko, admitted to changing the log but the center's police didn't dig too deeply into why. an independent medical expert said van's december was likely homicide. but his opinion was left out of the final police report. no one was ever arrested or prosecuted for van's death. the director says her department is working to improve its police force. >> we will be retraining every one of our staff to make sure that, indeed, they are providing the highest level of service. >> but the problem may go beyond shoddy police work. dr. van pena said he would document patient injuries by placing photographs in the medical records. but someone else, he says, would remove the photos. >> i would go to see the patient
at perhaps another time and lo and behold, there would be the area where the photograph was placed would be cut out. nice, sharp edges. such as one would do with scissors. >> when he complained dr. pena says he was asked outright by administrators to stop taking photos. >> i believe the administration wished to cover up the reality of these often graphic and severe injuries to patients under their care. >> dr. pena was fired, he says, for refusing to cooperate. a federal court found evidence to support pena's allegations and a wrongful termination suit is pending. the state of california paid monetary settlements to the families of van ingram and timothy lazini but the cases remain unsolved. >> there needs to be justice served and i don't feel like there has been. >> it was wrong for him to die
like that. >> belva: reported by money that lamb and ryan gableson for the center of investigative reporting. we wish the best of luck to bay area filmmakers who are up for academy awards this sunday. ♪ ♪. >> belva: one contender in the documentary short category is "the barber of birmingham." the film expores the impact of barack obama's 2008 campaign on ageing civil rights activist in this the south including central protagonist james armstrong. the film was produced and directed by robin friday of marin and the late gail dojini. my thanks to both of you for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. and one more thing before saying good night. this will be my last season as host of "this week." i will wrap up my time on the program in november. now, that makes for a very long good-bye but until then, i look